How Do I Add a Website Shortcut to My Desktop?

By Aaron Parson

Web browser favorites and bookmarks cut down on the time it takes to visit your daily hangouts, but for the sites you open constantly, skip loading your home page by placing a site's shortcut directly on the Windows desktop. Advanced users looking to test sites in multiple browsers can also use desktop shortcuts as a time-saver, since shortcuts made using Internet Explorer always open that browser, regardless of your default.

Make a Desktop Shortcut

To create a shortcut, load a site in your Web browser and shrink the browser window so that you can see the desktop. If your browser takes up the whole screen, click the "Restore" icon near the "X" button that closes the program. Drag the icon left of the current site's address onto the desktop to place the shortcut. Alternatively, right-click the desktop, choose "New," pick "Shortcut" and enter the site's address.

Make a Start Screen Shortcut

In addition to desktop shortcuts, Internet Explorer on Windows 8 can place links on the Start screen. In IE 10 on Windows 8, open the site, press "Alt-T" to open the Tools menu and choose "Add Site to Start Screen." In IE 11 on Windows 8.1, press "Alt-T" and choose "Add Site to Apps" to place a link on the Apps page of the Start screen. Right-click that link and choose "Pin to Start" to move it to the main page. These methods create a shortcut to the desktop version of Internet Explorer. To link to the Windows 8.1 modern interface version of IE 11, visit the site with the IE app, click near the bottom of the screen, press the "Favorites" star icon and click the "Pin Site" pin icon.

Shortcut Differences

Shortcuts created from Firefox, Chrome or the right-click menu on the desktop always open in your default Web browser, regardless of the program used to create them. Conversely, shortcuts made in Internet Explorer always open in IE. For the tech enthusiasts curious as to why: most shortcuts are files with the URL extension, which load in the default browser. IE uses the WEBSITE extension instead, which ignores the default entirely.